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Virgin of Guadalupe Collection

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Virgin of Guadalupe Collection


Apparitions of the Virgin Mary are among the important miracle claims of the Catholic Church -- so much so that critics have sometimes referred to the practice as “Marianity.” Often they involve children (notably at La Salette, France, 1846; Lourdes, France, 1858; Pontmain, France, 1871; Fatima, Portugal, 1917; Garabandal, Spain, 1961; Medjugorje, Yugoslavia, beginning in 1981). When an adult, the visionary is likely to be a female (Catherine Labouré in Paris, 1830; Maria Fioritti, Pescara, Italy, 1988; Nancy Fowler, Conyers, Georgia, 1990; Theresa Lopez, Mother Cabrini Shrine near Denver, 1991).
“Visionaries” tend to be highly imaginative, even to have fantasy-prone personalities. Their apparitional figures are similar to other religious individuals’ guardian angels, Spiritualist mediums’ spirit guides, and alien abductees’ extraterrestrial entities -- that is, versions of the proverbial imaginary friend. Some cases are atypical; for example, evidence indicates that the 1961 Marian visitations at Garabandal were a hoax.
(For discussions, see Joe Nickell’s Looking for a Miracle, 1993, 145-153, 167-208; and The Science of Miracles, 2013, 225-239, 249-267.)

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